07/12/2012 Newsnight


In-depth investigation and analysis of the stories behind the day's headlines, presented by Emily Maitlis.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 07/12/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Tonight, turning crisis into opportunity. Faced with the worst


economic conditions in decades, is it time to think big, and downsize


the state. If you were starting from scratch, what would the


Government control. We ask our radical thinkers how big it should


Also tonight, more trouble and strive, the Government wants


churches -- strife, the Government want Channel Tunnels to hold gay


marriage. What do the Clergy make of this, we ask a couple of members.


The map of the Blitz where every red dot marks a bomb. When they


walked back home the house had been bombed and they were nowhere to be


found. Good evening, you never want a


serious crisis to go to waste, Obama's former righthand man, Rahm


Emanuel, memorably claimed. Tonight, faced with one of the bleakest


outlooks the country has ever faced. We asked what it would take to make


a clean start of the crisis. We enter territory we rarely touch,


the realms of what if. What if you could start again, to take account


of your straitened times, would you roll back Government to its core


purpose, if so, what would that be? How would we define our welfare


sector, and what would we leave to the private sector.


Don't like the state we are in, perhaps we should...start again. Go


back to something like a blank sheet of paper. Afterall, it is


only 100 years or so Agatha the British state was far smaller.


-- or so ago the British state was So how did we get from there to


this? The short answer is war. Taylor says the state established a


grip over citizens and never let go. That grip has got tighter, given


our tight fiscal times, is there a case for deciding what we really


need the state to do, and what we can perhaps do without. It is what


management consultants call zero- based budgeting. Under the model


that we have been pursuing, basically, since World War I, the


way the state starts providing private goods increasingly to the


population. You have an obvious problem, you will run into proob


emblem one day that what has -- a problem one day, that what has been


given can't be taken away. You must have free bus passs or TV licenses,


or free access to university, then you try to take it away, there is a


big kerfuffle, sometimes you can take it away a bit, and sometimes


not. This whole system is crazy. There has been plenty written about


reducing the state to its core. Economists like Milton Friedman,


who won the Nobel Prize, argue that state bureaucracy has not only


infant sized citizens, they have a powerful incentive to increase


their size and scope. His ideas were so controversial, that even


his Nobel ceremony was interrupted by protest. I believe that the


essential element of putting Britain on a prosperous track, for


a long period of time, is to get the Government reduced in size, and


to get rid of Government control over large areas of your economy.


Friedman thought you could reduce the role of the state to a few core


functions, defence of the nation. We need a mill treatment


arbitration of disputes and enforcements of contracts, we need


a court service. And protecting the individual from crime against


themselves and their property. So we need a police force. And that,,


pretty much is it. Of course, that would mean the


state withdrawing from areas like health and education. Which, for


many, perhaps the majority, is, well, unthinkable.


But remember, not that long ago, the majority thought the state was


best-placed to build cars and run airlines. Although health and


education are vital, are they more vital thaned food. We don't have a


national food service. Where state agencies do get involved with food,


we get the common agricultural policy, and the result is often


criminal waste and more expensive food for the public. The classical


liberal views, that the irreducable core of what the state should spent


on is public -- spend on is public goods. The classic is street


lighting. Once the street lights up everybody can use them, they are


non-excludable, as it is put. If people had to buy them privately,


there would be an undersupply of them. I won't buy them becausely


think you will buy them and I will free ride on you, and you will do


the same you force people to buy them through taxation. Public goods,


the famous public goods are things like street lighting and maybe


rubbish collection, national defence, the rule of law, which


comprises of the police and the courts. Some think that modern


politics is hastening the day when we have a reduced core state, that


so many voters currently benefit from state spending, either as


employees or recipients, that any reductions become impossible.


Witness the rows this week over the measures contained in the Autumn


Statement. That means we will simply carry on borrowing until the


markets say enough, and we find ourselves with no alternative, than


to contemplate that blank page. With me now is Nassim Nicholas


Taleb, author of Black Swan, and the former economic advise Tory


George W Bush, and Matthew Taylor. If we were starting from scratch


now, you looking in on this country, what would be core purpose and what


would be auxiliary? There is a social contract between citizens


and their state, the citizens agree to pay taxes in exchange for the


state to do certain things. The voice of what the state ought to do


will vary from country to country. The French answer to where you draw


the line between public and private sector is different from the


English answer. Is it to do the economic state the country is in?


No it isn't. The Soviet Union discovered is the state can run out


of money and cease to exist. We are at a critical moment in the United


Kingdom and the United States, and all the indebted countries, where


we have to address the question that what is the purpose and role


of the function of the state. You can't have a system where the


amount of money coming in is less than the amount of money going out,


in payments, in benefits, to the public. So we have to be balanced.


I'm saying Government has to take in more than it spends or it seass


to be able to survive. Give me specific -- Saezs to be able to


survive. Give me specifics? Given that everything has to be cut, we


don't have enough cash, not here or in the United States to pay for


everything promised to the citizens, so we have to put everything. There


is no choice, it is not a redistribution argument F you taxed,


for example, 1 -- if you taxed, for example, 100% of American citizens'


income, we would still have a multigenerational debt problem. It


is not a question of redistribution. Everything has to be renegotiated


between citizens and state as to who will deliver what. The state is


defaulting on the citizen, that is what austerity is. Would you agree


that redistribution is way beyond this? I hate to introduce concept


actual clarity to the debate, you have to clarify the size of the


state, what the state does and regulation by the state. You could


have a state that spend as lot of money, but doesn't provide services,


or you could have a state that doesn't spend much money or provide


services but regulates a lot. There is lots of ways the state


influences things. We shouldn't underestimate the way the state


changes any way. In the last few years the state has gotten out of


the financing of higher education but more money has gone into early


years. The state has gone out of the funding of nationalised


industries. So actually, over time, what the state does and doesn't do,


does actually naturally change. you think we are on the right track,


with the examples you have used, do you think this is the right


direction of travel? Well, we clearly are going to face some


extremely difficult choices, coming up, there is no question about that.


Whatever you think the right economic strategy is, we have got a


big hole, and we will have to address that hole. That will take


some difficult decisions. I think probably, the problem for the


coalition at the moment, is it has ring-fenced certain areas, and if


it is to be believed, the consequences that large swathes of


Government will virtually disappear, in order to defend certain sacred


cows, I don't think that is a terribly rational strategy. We are


on hypothetical ground, starting with a blank sheet, and saying what


should happen? I'm looking, smiling at this debate. The whole entire


debate was Milton Friedman's archaic. The point is not the state,


it is the private sector, the problem is to do with size. The


most successful model in modern history, it is not the nation state.


It was created recently, it failed twice in Ancient Egypt and China T


started again, a century-and-a-half ago in Europe as an epidemic. The


model that has worked is the bottom-up semi-state model. The


governance is much better at the local level, city states. When you


say city states, I think of Singapore, that can't work across


the world? New York is a city state. Switzerland is a bottom-up


municiple. These are smaller places? The idea


that size matters a lot for more governance than the nature of the


political system. That is what people fail to understand. Let me


explain, you are top-down, sitting in Whitehall or Washington, and you


make a mistake, you have no skin in the game, nobody will know a spread


sheet will know about your mistake. It is theoretical. You are a local


mayor, you make a mistake, and you are penalised by people around you.


Let me add one thing. Let me bring you in at this exact point, the


idea of localism and being accountable? I think it is exactly


bright, Benjamin Barber is bringing out a book about If Mayors Ruled


the World, mayors are more popular than prime ministers and presidents,


nation state is too far away. 50 years ago a sociologist famously


said in the modern world the state is too big for the small things in


life and too big small for the big things in life. It is about how the


state operates. My profession is on risk business, you want to know the


risk of projects failing, or not being delivered on time and cost


overrun and failure to predict, simple. A �100 million project has


up to 30% more cost overruns than a �5 billion project. The reason we


have size is to save money, you agree, and to make things easier.


Size comes with more and more errors errors that can be


devastating. If it is that simple, if small things are safer and work


better, why do we think so big, why do we talk in big Government?


I do think there is an element of once, I think Milton Friedman said,


there is nothing so permanent than a temporary Government programme.


Once you create something, it is difficult to deconstruct it and


take it away. Again, I think the critical issue isn't about the size


of Government, it is about balancing how much you bring in, in


terms of cash, and how much you are spending. The problem we face in


all the industrialised countries is that, since the Second World War,


we have been very lucky with demographics, we had baby-boom. The


amount of money coming into the system was larger than the amount


that needed to be paid out. This demographic has begun to change,


and we built all our expectations that we could continue funding with


debt permanently, that isn't true. Hang on, we also allowed, over the


last 20 or 30 years, a massive increase in inequality, that


increase in the level of inequality, is one of the things that fuelled


the risks that led to the credit crunch. What leads to the growth of


the state is want to go enhance entitlement, there is nothing wrong


with that, want ago decent education for every child, and


basic healthcare. We have to move to a place where we have basic


entitledment but change how they are delivered. Your experience with


Tony Blair, you must have had these conversations about what power you


let go of, he brought in devolution. But it is very hard for politicians


in power to let go? It is hard. And one of the reasons it is hard is


because we have, it is not just the state that centralises, the


corporate centre is centralised, the media is centralised. Ministers


face the problem of going on radio and TV and defending the actions of


someone who is operating anywhere in England, because we expect


Whitehall to take responsibility for. That one of the things


politicians have to get used to, is saying that is not my job any more.


I have genuinely devolved responsibility for that. What


happens in your model, where every tiny state operates in its own


autonomy, what happens when there is failure? The beauty of the


bottom-up. Cities go bankrupt, 20 years ago we were talking about


cities going bankrupt left, right and centre. The difference is some


cities will be successful and some will fail. There will be pressure


and competition between them. can't literally have a city where


people are living, failing, right? You can manage. New York had to


pull out of and and compete. The state can step in for emergencies.


We are not arguing that we should let them. You have the safety net


of the state. You have to define an emergency? The point is, people


mistake interventionism, in regular affairs, micromanaging things,


which the state does, and invariably ends up doing, with the


being there for emergency room. We need the state for emergencies. We


need the state for things that cannot be done locally, for big


failures, but we don't need the state to come and tell us how to


increase happiness, we need the state to decrease unhappiness.


is so easy to get into the hypothetical realm, let's go back


to practical issues. I think you will always create a problem, this


will be a controversial, if you pay people more to not work than to


work. For example, you will always have a problem if you have an


environment in which a fireman and a police officer cannot live within


an hour of where they work, because prices have gone so far out of


control. So there are some basic rules of the game. Whether you are


a Conservative or a liberal, it doesn't matter. Again, it just


comes down to balance sheet management, and one of the problems


we have had, is the Governments are not subject to the same accounting


rules as corporations and therefore, they borrow more than they should.


It is also true that when the market fails, as it has,


disastrously in the last few years, thank God for the state, if it


wasn't for the state we would be in the real state of collapse.


state causeded it to collapse. You have the state bailing out and


allowing something too big to fail. We have run out of time. Should gay


marriages be allowed to take place within a church. The Prime Minister


has confirmed he wants MPs to vote on legislation, which would allow


the ceremonies to be conducted in places of religious worship, no


wonder the plans to be set out this week, religious organisations,


which do not want to hold these services, will be given legal


protection. Guaranteed exemption. It is something that has brought


the three main party leaders together. A vow to support the


right for gay couples to get married. But there is significant


opposition from the Tory backbenches. Perhaps suspecting


they are not all likely to honour and obey, David Cameron has


promised a free vote on the issue. I'm in favour of gay marriage,


because I'm a massive supporter of marriage, and I don't want gay


people to be excluded from great institution.


Key to the Government's response to the consultation, will be its


proposal that churches and other religious institutions can marry


gay couples if they wish, but legal protection given to those who


prefer to remain exempt. This is unlikely to end the trouble


and strife, the consultation period has exposed very public divisions.


The Church of England, itself reeling after its synod voted


against women bishops, remains firmly opposed to gay weddings,


arguing they would lead to the deillusion of marriage.


The Government -- deluegs of marriage. The Government hopes to


have a vote before Easter, and applying to the statutes before


2014, that is assuming the Lords doesn't block it. In which case,


the honeymoon may have to just wait. Does the proposed legislation go


far enough or too far. We have my guest, one in favour of marriage,


and a group committed to the biblical teaching on marriage.


Would you be happy to see gay marriages conducted in your church?


No, because for two reasons, one, the concept of gay marriage is a


contradiction in temples, it is not marriage. It would change -- in


terms, it is not marriage, it would change everybody's marriage. We are


not interested in protected churches on this. The fact of the


matter is marriage is not just something for believers, it is for


everybody. We are interested in the issue for the whole of the state.


It is interesting, following your recent piece on the size of the


state, here we have a Conservative Prime Minister, interfering in the


religious beliefs, in fact the religious institutions of a society.


This is extraordinary. Let me ask, would you be happy to see any


service take place in any church? No, because...This Isn't about a


personal church, you think it shouldn't be any church? It is


saying, this will be saying that God blesses something, which he


clearly teaches, both in creation and in the Bible Bible, he does not


bless, it is not -- in the Bible, he does not bless, it is not right.


This would come from the synod, you would say the Bible is the top, but


in legislative terms, this would be something the synod would oppose,


right? The House of Bishops of the Church of England, in response to


the Government's consultation, said that they could not support the


concept of gay marriage. This won't happen, then? Will it?


think marriage will be opened as far as we can see to gay people, as


well as straight people in Britain, at some time, in the next few years,


maybe as early as 2015. But not in churches? Some churches, because


there are churches who believe quite as strongly that they should


marry gay people, as there are church that is believe they


shouldn't. What would happen to those churches, then, would they be


outside the thinking of the rest of the Church of England, what


position would these churches who went against that be? You can say


people have a right to object to marrying particular people, that is


well enshrined in English law, for example, Clergy can object to


marrying divorcees, that is the case since the 1920s, there have


been provisions for Clergy's consciences since 1907, deceased


wives' sisters. You don't need anything in law that protects you,


you have always had the right to protect yourself from certain kinds


of marriages? On-air I was discussing with maybe of the gay


and lesbian transgender movement, who said they would bring cases


against churches who wouldn't. This is a red herring, the issue is not


whether or not it is in churches, the Government is trying to buy off


religious opposition. We will send to every parliamentarian, is there


a case for same-sex marriages, and issues of eligibility and


consequences next week. It sets out hard social scientific evidence


that same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships, formallising them in


society is not a good thing for human flourishing. Scientific is a


powerful word to use in an argument like this? Extraordinary, there are


several jurisdictions in the world where there is marriage equality,


the sky hasn't fallen in, in any many of them marriage is stronger,


divorce rates have come down in some of them. We don't know what


the relationship is, quite honestly there is absolutely no evidence


that the sky falls in when you do it. Why not do it tomorrow, if they


are always going to oppose it on that side of the church, why would


you even wait for the Prime Minister, or the MPs to introduce


it? I think, very sadly, the Church of England has a long debate about


this, 20, 30, years ago we were thinking seriously about the


position of gay people in society, in the 1990, it became politicised,


I put my head over the parapet on gay marriage earlier thisy, I have


had 500 responses from people, including many Clergy in the Church


of England, the overwhelming majority of them are in favour of


marriage equality, it is about one in ten weren't, of the responses I


got. The interesting ones were people who said we can't talk about


it, what we need to do is talk about it. By not having gay


marriages in the Church of England for a while, that will give us


space to work this one out properly, and look find the rather infatanile


terms it has been talked about. you worried about getting left


behind and making yourself irrelevant, if the vast majority of


people have moved on, on this issue? The Church of England has


never set its doctrine by public opinion poll or popularity. It has


changed it? What has changed it? has changed, for example, whether


it will marry people who have had sex before marriage, whether it


will, as the examples were given, brothers of the dead brothers and


all the rest of it, these things do move on? That is all within the


concept of woman and man as the fundamental components of marriage.


Why should that be a stronger definition than any of other


examples? The evidence is, the evidence is that for human


flourishing, for providing children with the rights to have a mother


and a father, for the best context for both children being reared, and


also for long-term. Real marriage ensures the future. The evidence is


that if you want to have a life- long committed same-sex


relationship, hold on, hold on. don't mind marrying older people


who might not pro-create? If you have that, then non-monogamous


same-sex relationships are much more continuous than if you are


monogamous, it is different for marriage. You asked me then,


another question, which was? If it is about procreation, why don't you


mind marrying older people who aren't having children? Because,


two reasons, it is pro-creative in principle, and secondly, they can


still be a mother and father to children. The using phrase "equal"


it changes marriage for everyone. have discovered there are gay


couples in Britain, living together in fruitful, joyful relationships,


sometimes for 20, 30 years, which entirelyly mirror the Christian


virtues of marriage. As far as marriage being gendered, that is a


strand of Christian teaching on marriage, not exclusively so. In


the Bible the church is described as the bride of Christ, that


doesn't mean all Christians are female, it doesn't mean they have


to have sex, and who are the kids? It reduces it to be absurdity to


say it is engendered in that way, it shouldn't be now. I disagree.


Thank you for coming in if and talking about it.


It is called, compellingly, bomb site.org, an interactive --


bombsite.org, an interactive map that illustrates where each bomb


fell in the blits and how the city was affected. The bliplts, which


killed thousands and destroyed more than a million homes. This map


pieces together the targeting, with photos and the history that arose


from it. They accumulate and cluster, as


though in an unwanted finding on a medical chart. In fact, this is the


pathology of London during the Blitz. Each red dot represents a


bomb site. Take a suburban street like Pember Road in Kensal Rise, in


the North West of theAl. The new website records that -- of the


capital. The new website records that Nazi bombers struck here. The


houses all looked like this, except here, where number 24 used to be.


have a couple of pictures here of Ivy. My cousin was left in the


house, at the age of 16, very responsible lady. And the parents,


my uncle and aunt, went out, probably to the Kilburn Empire,


which they used to frequent, had a lovely evening. When they walked


back home, the house had been bombed. Ivy was nowhere to be found.


But she was found some while later, she had been, the house had


suffered pretty well a direct hit and she was blown to piece. This is


the sad thing, she was just at the age where she had young men taking


an interesting. It all just disappeared like that.


Thick smoke hangs over the heart of Britain, as a choking dawn reveals


the terrors of the night. London has been wounded during the hours


of darkness, what colossal strength runs in her veins news reals of the


blits shows the landmarks. There is a lot of misconceptions about the


Blitz, that it was mainly aimed at the East End of London, it was


terribly badly hit there, it was the dock, and the infrastructure in


the place. It hit the west just as hard. There were 20,000 people


killed, predominantly in the East End, but the leafy, outer suburbs


were hit too. Causing devastation and terror, that was the motive of


the Germans, to intell fear into that population.


-- Instill fear into the population. Each red dot of the map, is a sign


of something perishable,ry. We used to play in the bombed -- Memory.


used to play in the bombed buildings, when I think we used to


go up rafters with bits missing. I recall a house, we must have passed


there the day after it had been bombed. It was a most extraordinary


sight. There was a policeman standing outside, I recall, and


debris in the road. And the whole of the front of the house had been


blown off. And there was a bed hanging out into the road.


website will excavate war time from the rubble of history for a new


begin raise, or so some hope. -- Generation, or so some hope.


lot of young people are interested in the world war, because they are


part of the key stage programmes, anything that shows people a little


bit more, uncovers the archaeology of London, or any other city, is


very, very valuable. It is interesting, people always say, the


Second World War, people are obsessed with that, you know, can't


we have closure. If I said to you, I'm going to take you to a plague


pit, you wouldn't say, for goodness sake can't we get over the 16th


century, can't we move on. website, and a forth coming app to


go with it, are new tools for joining the dots of history.


Review is up next. Matter that is in Glasgow.


In the last book special of the year, we will be marking the 50th


anniversary of A Clockwork Orange, and also looking at a book about00


years of film censorship, which includes Kubrick's controversial


film. There is a new novel from the creator of Reginald Perrin, another


posthumous publication from David Foster Wallace, and the latest


collection from Oliver Sachs, the world's favourite neurologist,


which he calls an anthology of hallucinations! That is all from


Newsnight. We leave you with a view from the earth as seen by NASA's


newest satellite, back down to earth on Monday.


Download Subtitles